Ben Roberts believes he has done enough to get the first crack at Canterbury’s vacant five-eighth spot ahead of this Friday’s NRL trial with St George Illawarra. Roberts was expected to play just the second half of last Saturday’s trial against the Sydney Roosters, but the livewire 25-year-old was given an early entry to the game when utility Joel Romelo exited with concussion. The extra time gave Roberts a further chance to show his wares in his battle with Kris Keating for Canterbury’s most fiercely contested spot. And while the wet conditions didn’t lend themselves to flashy playmaking, Roberts produced a cross-field kick that resulted in a try to centre Tim Lafai.“I had a solid game which I’m pretty happy with, the weather was a bit greasy so I turned more to my kicking game than my running game and worked on that,” Roberts told AAP. “I did (get on a little bit earlier than expected), but it was good, I was always ready. “It was good to finally get out there. Pre-season’s been pretty tough but it felt like a bit of a reward getting some time on the field.” Both Roberts and Keating are both expected to get one half each to play with former Manly halfback Trent Hodkinson, already guaranteed the No.7 jersey, against the Dragons on Friday. But Roberts said that despite going head-to-head with Keating for the right to partner Hodkinson in the halves against the Wests Tigers in round one, the two still have a tight bond. “It’s our job, you know what I mean? We’re happy to fight for that spot,” Roberts added. “Kris is a good boy, and off the field we’re mates and on the field we’re teammates as well. “I suppose whatever is better for the side will decide who gets picked at the end of the day but hopefully it will be me.” Roberts also noted the depth the club has in the halves, admitting that after Josh Reynolds’ two-try effort against the Roosters, and Aidan Sezer’s continued improvement, he will be looking over his shoulder all year. “(Reynolds) had a very impressive game … we’ve got a lot of talent here,” he said.

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